In Search of Mockingbird

Loretta Ellsworth, Author . Holt $16.95 (181p) ISBN 978-0-8050-7236-5

A teen’s yearning to connect to her long-deceased mother is at the core of Ellsworth’s ( The Shrouding Woman ) novel. Erin, whose mother died when she was three days old, cherishes her mother’s worn paperback copy of To Kill a Mockingbird . This book and a few black-and-white photographs are her sole connections to her mother’s life. The day before her 16th birthday, Erin’s father gives her the diary her mother had kept at 16. After reading a few entries, Erin learns that she shares many similarities with her mother, including their mutual dream of becoming writers. She then discovers that her mother once wrote to Harper Lee asking, “How do you know if you have what it takes to be a writer?” Erin decides she has to meet Harper Lee in person; she sneaks out of the house and boards a bus to Monroeville, Ala. “She’ll be there, sitting in her porch swing, waiting to talk to me.” The story bogs down during the road trip, with a great deal of attention given to the adults who offer Erin help along the way. When Erin arrives at her destination, she accepts that traveling to Monroeville won’t bring her closer to her mother; only her father can fill in the blanks. Erin’s journey of self-discovery gives her the courage to confront her own failings and the maturity to accept her father’s plans to marry. Though Erin’s voice seems younger than her years, readers will root for her while reaching for a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird . Ages 10–14. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/23/2007
Release date: 04/01/2007
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-8050-9695-8
Hardcover - 181 pages - 978-1-4287-3924-6
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-4299-9838-3
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-1-250-08220-6
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